pike file photoNorthern pike. FWP file photo

Northern pike detected in Bull RiverFWP asking anglers to report catches or observations of pike in Clark Fork tributaryKALISPELL — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is asking anglers to report any northern pike caught or observed in the Bull River in Sanders County following the first confirmed detection of the predacious non-native fish.Anyone who catches or observes a pike on the Bull River should contact fisheries biologist Travis Rehm at 406-382-3032. FWP is trying to identify the extent of the potential pike abundance in the river.FWP recently received a report from an angler who observed a pike in the river south of Bull Lake near Noxon. Fisheries biologists confirmed the observation by catching and removing the fish. The presence of pike in the river is believed to be the result of an illegal introduction.The Bull River is a tributary of the Clark Fork River in northwest Montana with populations of native bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish and others. FWP has confirmed populations of non-native northern pike in Bull Lake and Cabinet Gorge Reservoir on the Clark Fork, but barriers have prevented passage into the Bull River. This recent discovery is the first confirmed pike in the Bull River.Illegal introductions can have significant negative impacts on lakes and rivers. They can often lead to lost recreational fishing opportunities, as well as collapsing ecosystems and altered food webs. The economic repercussions can be significant, affecting local fishing businesses and communities reliant on tourism and angling. As aggressive predators, pike can rapidly deplete populations of smaller fish and dramatically harm native fish populations.Anyone with possible information about an illegal introduction is encouraged to visit https://myfwp.mt.gov/fwpPub/tipmont to provide details or call the FWP violation reporting hot line at 1-800-TIP-MONT. You may be eligible for a cash reward.

Preliminary proposals for 2025-2026 fishing regulations available for review and comment

HELENA – If you’re interested in providing input on how Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is crafting fishing regulations for the next two years, now is your chance. FWP is taking public comment and asking for ideas on initial proposals for the 2025-2026 Fishing Regulations.

The initial 64 proposals are online now and available for review and comment. Just go to fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/public-comment-opportunities/fishing-regulations. 

The comment deadline is April 26, 2024

Please read the attached document with Dale Gilbert’s comments on each of the items

Walleye Populations

New science shows that releasing big fish is crucial to maintaining healthy populations – Click here to read the article.

Wisconsin survey regarding Forward Facing Sonar

All Anglers Who Fish in Wisconsin consider filling out the spring hearing questionnaire

Click Here for Survey

Click Here for FAQ’s on the Survey

Question 22 On Eliminating the Use Forward Facing & 360 Degree Sonar and Question 1 On Emergency Fisheries Management are explained below.

New Licenses ready March 1st!

Happy new license year! March 1 is the day you can buy your 2024 hunting and fishing licenses and begin applying for permits and special licenses. The deadline to apply for deer and elk permits is April 1, but don’t wait until the last minute. It’s a good idea to apply early.

Applications for most species – deer, elk, antelope, deer B licenses, elk B licenses, antelope B licenses, moose, sheep, goat, bison, bear, turkey – can be made beginning March 1.

New for this year, Montana residents purchasing a general deer or elk license between March 1 and June 30 are automatically entered into a lottery for a free moose, sheep, or goat license (species determined by the Fish and Wildlife Commission).

Please note that General Deer Licenses and Deer B Licenses for antlerless mule deer in Regions 6 and 7 are valid only on private land.

You can buy licenses and apply for permits on the FWP website beginning at 5 a.m. on March 1; click on “Buy and Apply.” Most FWP offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Once you have your licenses and permits, you can use the MyFWP mobile app to hold and display licenses, permits and E-Tags. Once you’ve downloaded these items, you will be able to access them in the field without cell service.

If you do not already have a MyFWP account, you can set one up through the MyFWP login page.

The licensing call center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from March 1 through April 1; after April 1, the hours will return to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The call center can be reached at 406-444-2950.

To watch a video on the permit application process, click here. For more information on Montana hunting licenses and permits, go to fwp.mt.gov/buyandapply/hunting-licenses.  

Application deadlines 

  • Paddlefish (white tag) – March 22   
  • Deer and Elk
    • Special Permits – April 1
    • Deer B and Elk B Licenses – June 1   
  • Bighorn Sheep – May 1   
  • Bison – May 1   
  • Moose – May 1   
  • Mountain Goat –May 1   
  • Antelope – June 1   
  • SuperTags   
    • Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, Bison, Deer, Elk, Moose, Mountain Goat, and Mountain Lion – June 30  
  • Mountain Lion Special Licenses – July 22   


2024 Chapter Banquets and events! – 2/15/2024

State Banquet and Agenda

Walleyes Unlimited State Banquet March 9th, 2024, hosted by The Gallatin Madison Walleyes Unlimited Chapter will be at 3:00PM at the MSU Fieldhouse.
Get your tickets and membership here.  (gmwalleyes.com)

Thanks to our Event Sponsor for the State Banquet!

Circle Chapter

Banquet March 30th. Kids day will be end of July.

Miles City Chapter

April 6th Annual Banquet @CCEC

June 15th Kids Fishing Day Spotted Eagle 

September 14th 2024 Yellowstone River Classic 

Great Falls Chapter

February 3rd 2024 – Montana Expo

Flathead Chapter

March 2nd, Kalispell Fairgrounds Expo Center

Doors open at 430. Dinner at 630. $50

Glendive Chapter

Glendive Banquet – 3/23/2024

Chapter Events – Kid’s Fishing Day (Early May)

Chapter Projects – Planning phase for Glendive Boat Ramp replacement

Montana Aquatic Invasive Species Update: January 2024

2023 AIS Summary

Friends and colleagues,

Montana is gearing up for another busy season addressing the threat of aquatic invasive species.  2024 brings new threats with quagga mussels detected in Idaho and zebra mussels moving up the Missouri River into Lake Oahe. Please contact us if you would like to become more involved in AIS prevention, early detection or outreach this season. 

New in 2024:

  • FWP is contracting with the Flathead Conservation District to help educate boaters on Clean Drain Dry and ensure watercraft are inspected before launching on Flathead Lake.
  • FWP is contracting with Missoula County and the Flathead Biological station to expand AIS early detection surveillance on Flathead Lake and other high risk waterbodies.
  • Extended watercraft inspection hours and season are planned at high risk locations.
  • Expanded partner and public involvement is planned for AIS early detection survey through trainings and workshops state-wide.

Watercraft Inspection:

  • Watercraft inspection stations are scheduled to begin operation on March 9th. See attachment for more information on anticipated watercraft inspection opening dates.
  • FWP is hiring watercraft inspectors:   Watercraft InspectorWatercraft Inspector Site Lead

  • Watercraft inspection locations can be found Here.
  • The 2023 Watercraft Inspection End of Year Report is now complete.  It is currently undergoing review and will be posted on the website in the coming weeks. Information from the report is included in the attachment.
    • 130,603 watercraft were inspected in Montana during the 2023 season.
    • 53 mussel fouled vessels were intercepted.  661 were intercepted with aquatic weeds.
    • 41,000 high risk boats were inspected.
  • Partners continue to play an integral role in AIS prevention effort in the state. Partners conduct over 70% of the watercraft inspections in Montana.
  • If you are interested in attending a watercraft inspection training, contact Zach Crete at  ZCrete@mt.gov

Early Detection Survey:

  • The 2023 Early Detection End of Year Report is now complete. It is currently undergoing review and will be posted on the website in the coming weeks. Information from the report is included in the attachment.
  • All Mussel veliger early detection microscopy samples from 2023 have been analyzed by the FWP AIS Early Detection Laboratory.
    • 3,143 AIS early detection microscopy samples from Montana waters were analyzed this season.
    • 471 samples from other Missouri River basin states were analyzed.
    • 400 Montana environmental DNA (eDNA) samples were analyzed for the presence of invasive mussels.
    • No evidence of invasive mussels was detected in 2023 samples from Montana waters.
  • New AIS detections in 2023 included:
    • New Zealand mudsnails in Silver Bow Creek (Warm Springs) and the Roe River (Great Falls).
    • Mud Bithynia snail in Blanchard Lake (Whitefish)
    • Curlyleaf pondweed in Horte Res (Ronan), The Lakes subdivision pond (Bozeman) and Missoula Kids Pond (Missoula).
  • No Eurasian watermilfoil was detected in eradication projects at Beaver Lake (Whitefish) and Nilan Reservoir (Augusta).  Follow up surveys will be conducted this season.
  • No invasive corbicula clams were detected in Lake Elmo (Billings) following eradication treatment in 2022.  Follow up surveys will continue this season.
  • If you are interested in attending an AIS early detection survey training, please contact Craig McLane CMcLane@mt.gov

Outreach and Education:

  • FWP continues a nation-wide marketing campaign to ensure boats are clean, drained, dry and inspected before launching in Montana waters.
  • We are fortunate to have AmeriCorps member Sophiane Nacer returning for a second year to support AIS education and outreach state-wide. Keep an eye out for new AIS social media posts on the FWP Facebook page.
  • AIS in Commerce Webinar:  February 20, 11:00.  More info HereRegister Here


  • Western Montana Conservation Commission Meeting:  February 7-8th , Polson.  WMCC
  • Western AIS Short Course:  March 5-6th, Missoula. Register Here
  • Columbia River Basin Team Meeting:  June 4-5th, Missoula.  Location TBA.  Columbia Basin Team Info
  • Western Regional Panel for Aquatic Invasive Species:  October 23-24th, Grand Junction, CO. More info TBA.  WRP Info
  • North American Invasive Species Management Association: September 30 – October 3rd, Missoula. More NAISMA Info

AIS News:

Thomas Woolf | Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau Chief

Fisheries Division

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Office: (406) 444-1230 | Cell: (406) 438-5905

Zebra Mussels are discovered in Lake Oahe this past week. – 1/4/2024


This doesn’t come as a complete surprise as the Aquatic Invasion Species (AIS) has been detected in Lake Pactola and is considered infested with Zebra Mussels.  Walleyes Unlimited of Montana is working with the Montana FWP and other organizations to combat the introduction of these into any Montana waters.  We take a strong stance of promoting Clean, Drain, Dry and we all need to be vigilant in stressing this with any and all watercraft coming in from other area and now in particular the Dakotas.  

You will be seeing and hearing a strong campaign in the very near future. 

Thanks for all of your efforts and working together will be essential to keep these extremely damaging things out of our waters. 

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